Technical Forums => Projects => Topic started by: John Lieberman on October 25, 2018, 03:55:14 PM

Title: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on October 25, 2018, 03:55:14 PM
Well, I did it.  I bought another Mini!  Got it on eBay from a guy in England who also has a US business in Colorado.  It's a white-over-red '81 with a 1275, sunroof, custom dash, and leather interior.  It's got a current MOT and all of the paperwork is in order.  He'd set a "Buy it Now" price of $6K but he also had a "Best Offer" option so I waited until the very last seconds of the auction and offered him $5K.  Much to my surprise, he accepted my offer!  Add in $1500 to ship it from Hull, UK, to Galveston and I got it for $6500.  He would have converted it to LHD for another $600 but I decided to leave it RHD -- at least for now.  It'll be a couple of weeks before it gets here so, for now, I'll just have to sit and wait.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on October 25, 2018, 04:18:34 PM
Congrats John!    Let me know if you need a hand shuffling it from TX to LA.

And... could the seller toss a spare 1275 or 3 in the trunk?   ;)   Ok, wishful thinking.


Jim, Diana and Jimmy
Too many copperheads, not enough working car batteries

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: MPlayle on October 26, 2018, 11:33:45 AM
Use a customs broker and be sure ALL required paperwork is processed correctly.  There are some forms now that must be submitted to US Customs BEFORE the car is loaded in the UK.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on October 26, 2018, 09:51:52 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Michael and Jim.  The guy I'm buying it from has a 100% positive rating on eBay, and he's been on there for several years, so he's obviously sent other Minis from the UK to the US and knows what he's doing.  He's already set up everything with the customs broker he usually uses here so it SHOULD be clean sailing when I drive down to Galveston to pick it up in a couple of weeks and then drag it back to Shreveport to get it registered here. 
I've also contacted USAA to see what it would take to add it to my existing insurance policy and they've referred me to American Collectors Insurance which covers cars like this for them.  It will only cost me $326.79/year -- $27.23/month -- to insure it for $12K with up to 7500 miles/year of driving.  Now I just have to find a fully-enclosed, lockable, storage place where I can keep it when I'm not driving it because I don't have a garage and that's one of their insurance requirements. 
As for the extra 1275s, Jim, I don't want to rock the boat.  I think I've already snared a pretty good deal on this car and I sure don't want to complicate the issue!!!  I do, however, have a deal working with a guy in south Louisiana who's parting out a 1275 Mini that he got from Central America.  He's going to sell me the engine and rod-change gearbox for $2500!

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: Wings on October 31, 2018, 02:32:08 PM
Obviously we will need photographic 'evidence' once you get it home, John.  :)
As for insurance you might check with Hagerty too. I forget what I pay but they've always treated me well and their roadside assistance saved my butt one time.
Good luck with your new toy.


Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on October 31, 2018, 04:48:21 PM
Here's a link to the eBay ad with a whole bunch of photos: (


Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on November 07, 2018, 11:00:46 PM
John, it looks really nice!    Just curious, did you leave it RHD or have the seller change it to LHD?

If you were a little closer I'd rent out my garage to store it.   Just don't tell my Cooper I said that.

My brother found a Clubman with 1275 near him for a donor engine.. but the seller thinks it's worth $5k+ as a rust bucket.   


Jim, Diana and Jimmy
Will work for Mini parts!

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on November 07, 2018, 11:28:31 PM
Thanks, Jim

The seller would have converted it to LHD for an additional $600 but I decided to leave it RHD since the last LHD car sold in the US was in 67 and the last one sold in Canada was in 69.  Since this one is an 81, and it's coming from England, I decided to leave it RHD for authenticity.  I can always convert it to LHD later on if I should decide to do so.  Besides, converting it to LHD might not have agreed with the custom dash.

I've been shopping for a place in proximity to my house where I can store it when I'm not driving it and I think I finally found the perfect place today.  It will fit with room to spare in a 10X15 storage space but the place I found today is out of them for $66/month.  However, they've got a bunch of 10X20s for $77/month.  That's way too big for the little car but it's plenty big enough to hold my pick-em-up truck when I take the Mini out for a drive.  So I think that's the way I'm going to go with it.

For a little more than $100/month, I can insure it for $12K and drive it up to 7500 miles/year as well as keep it securely stored when I'm not driving it.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on November 08, 2018, 12:03:45 AM

Cool, I've ridden in a RHD Moke over the mountains in Colorado, but never driven a RHD on the road.   

Right after I bought my Cooper in 1992 I learned of 4 parts cars, 2 pickups and 2 vans east of Dallas off of 80.   I had a deal going for 2 of them when the owner insisted I take all 4.   I was in a rental house in Plano with no tow vehicle or trailer at the time.   It would have been 3 998s and 1 850 RHD mechanical setups in 4 rusty/crusty cars.

Oh well.

Hence the country property with barn.  ;)


Jim, Diana and Jimmy
Too many projects and not enough space... really???   

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on November 08, 2018, 12:23:28 AM
Those sound like the same cars I looked at after I bought my 65 in 86 to turn it into a race car.  I really wanted one of those pickups so I could drop a 1275 into it and use it to tow the race car but the guy wouldn't even think about selling one pickup by itself.  He wanted to sell the whole lot.  Because of his reluctance to sell them one-at-a-time, he let the dreaded tin worm get to all of them and then nobody wanted any of them after that.  Don't know what ever became of them

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on November 08, 2018, 12:47:13 AM
I first saw them in the summer of '92, split between 2 of the "antique" shops in 80.  I went back in the spring of '93 and looked over the one pair, including getting VINs and engine #s to try to figure just what they were.  They were rough but I figured the engine/trans might be useful for my Cooper.

After making the intial deal of $425 for a pair the guy I was talking to had the other pair brought to his store and would only sell them as a package.   I wasn't able to at the time, but I went back the next year to make the deal.   The cars were there but the owner wasn't, and I didn't think to leave a message saying I'd take them.   When I came back a week later they were gone, supposedly to a scrap yard in 175.   I went to about 20 asking if they had the cars.   No luck. 

J, D & J

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on November 08, 2018, 12:56:50 AM
Yep!  Sounds like the same guy I talked to about those same cars back in the late 80s.  It was either take all or take none and I had no place to store all of them here in Shreveport so I told him he was really losing out on money by not agreeing to sell them one car at a time.  He just brushed me off like he knew what he was doing.  WRONG!!!  You know the results of that decision as well as I do!!!

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on November 30, 2018, 07:31:06 PM
Update...  I got a DHL package yesterday from the seller containing the Bill of Sale and British Registration form.  Today, I got an email from the broker that's handling all of the Customs paperwork and duty fees for me saying that it's scheduled to load in England on 12/9 with an ETA in Galveston of 12/27.  So it won't get here before Christmas but still close enough that I can call it a Christmas present to myself.
Since my initial purchase, the seller has renewed the front and rear brakes -- replaced the radiator -- put new bushings in the engine steady -- repaired some faulty wiring -- and replaced a leaky exhaust.  He's also removed the flimsy "custom" dash and returned it to a normal center pod.  But he's also including the removed dash panels in case I want to try to find a more secure method of mounting them.  All of this was done at no additional cost to me.
Looks like I picked the right guy to do business with!   

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: MPlayle on January 03, 2019, 11:46:33 AM
Any update on the arrival?

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on January 03, 2019, 12:16:14 PM
No!  The last word I got was that, for some reason, it did not load on Dec 9th as originally scheduled.  Now that the holidays are over, I'm hoping to hear something soon.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on January 22, 2019, 11:11:41 PM
The reason it didn't load last month, when it was supposed to, was because it had a fuel leak when it got to the port.  The seller operates out of Hull, in northern England, and ships from Southampton, in southern England.  So his cars have to be loaded onto a trailer and hauled 300 miles to the port.  Everything was fine when it left Hull but sometime while it was either being loaded onto or unloaded from the trailer, the fuel line got snagged and started leaking.  Not wanting to drive all the way from Hull to Southampton to fix the problem, the seller contacted a fellow Mini specialist in Southampton and asked him to retrieve the car, fix the fuel leak, and then take it back to the port -- which he did.  But, by the time he got the car back there, the ship had already sailed.
So we had to wait until the ship had made its rounds and arrived back in Southampton for another load.  The car was loaded yesterday and the ship sailed at 8 o'clock last night, our time.  It's now due to arrive in Galveston in the early morning hours of February 4th if everything goes according to Hoyle! 

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on February 05, 2019, 06:41:53 PM
Lil Red has made it to Galveston!  The estimated time of arrival there was 4 o'clock yesterday morning.  The actual time of arrival was 3:54 -- 6 minutes earlier than originally projected.  That was a pretty accurate estimate, considering that it was made on January 22nd when she left Southampton!
Now I'm just waiting to get word from the Port that she's been released for pickup so I can hitch up my trailer and head down that way.  I'm hoping to have her back here in Shreveport by this weekend.
Then comes the "fun" of trying to get her taxed, titled, and registered through the Louisiana OMV!!!   I know that's going to be a royal PITA!  I'm hoping that they'll tax her based on the bill of sale and not some arbitrary number that's lurking in the far reaches of their computer system.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on February 06, 2019, 08:30:43 AM
Congrats John!   

I'm looking forward to seeing your new toy.


Jim, Diana and Jimmy

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on February 15, 2019, 07:10:44 PM
Well, I've got her!  Got word last Friday that she had finally been released for pickup.  So I drove down to Galveston Sunday; spent some time exploring the island, which I hadn't seen since my honeymoon there in '69; had a great dinner at Miller's Seawall Grill; then drove to the port, through the fog, to pick her up Monday morning. 
After waiting 45 minutes for an escort, the paperwork there was a breeze.  Only took about 5 minutes.  The Customs broker I'd hired really did her job.  All I had to do was hand the man my release form.  He filled out a short form; had me sign it; gave me the pink copy; and told me to go get my car.
Then the "fun" began!  The little turd wouldn't start.  The battery was flatter than a pancake.  We tried two jumper packs on it and it still wouldn't start.  So we wound up having to push it onto the trailer.  After I got it lashed down, we went back to the paperwork guy and he gave me the yellow copy of my form so I could turn it in at the gate and be allowed to leave the port.
Once back in Shreveport, I gave her a thorough going-over.  The oil was black as coal and so were the plugs.  I put her on the battery charger and, after three hours, the needle still hadn't dropped.  So I bought another battery and installed it -- along with a new set of plugs.  Then, with a little spritz of starter fluid for an extra boost, I cranked her over and she started right up.  After she warmed up, she ran smoothly and had a nice throaty exhaust note.
Now that she's running, I'm going to drag her over to State Police HQ Tuesday morning (Monday's a holiday) to get her inspected.  Then I can go next door to the DMV and begin the lengthy process of getting her taxed, titled, and licensed.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: MPlayle on February 17, 2019, 11:51:18 AM

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on February 17, 2019, 12:58:58 PM
Not yet, other than the eBay link I posted when I first bought it.  I plan to take and post some after I get it washed and waxed.

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on February 19, 2019, 05:58:35 PM
Cool, let us know how it goes.   I'd looked at the seller after you posted the link to your auction, he had a 998 for sale at about the same price.


Jim, Diana and Jimmy

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on February 25, 2019, 12:13:20 AM
This is getting to be really old, really quick!  I picked up the car in Galveston two weeks ago tomorrow.  But I'm STILL waiting for the Customs paperwork from my Customs broker so I can take her to the DMV and get her taxed, titled, and registered in Louisiana!  I can't, legally, drive her on the street until I get all of that taken care of.  I've emailed my broker for an update and I'm waiting for a reply.

I took her on the trailer to State Police last Thursday, after it finally quit raining here, to get her inspected and she passed with flying colors.  They had a hoot looking over the car, taking pictures, and asking me questions -- which I gladly answered.

On the positive side, I took her off the trailer today for the first time since I picked her up and replaced the battery and plugs,  I took her for a couple of laps around the Self-Storage facility, since there was nobody else there at the time, and she ran like a dream except for a really twitchy throttle.  If I just give her a little bit of gas, she takes off like a bat out of Piccadilly!  It's a hoot to drive her that way but it sure won't do much for my gas mileage or my ability to drive her on the street.  So that's something I'm going to have to address once she's legal to drive on the street.

I may cheat a bit tomorrow.  Since she's stored only a mile-and-a-half from my house, and there's a residential area between us, I may drive her home and give her a thorough scrubbing.  She's dirty as all getout from sitting at the dock in Southampton for over a month -- waiting for the ship to come back and get her for the trip to Galveston.  So it's more than past time to get her scrubbed and shined.  I'll post some pictures as soon as she's cleaned up and shined and ready to drive on the street

Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on March 15, 2019, 05:49:11 PM
Update and pics...
I've driven her from the storage facility to my house and back a few times to work on her.  Had to add some gas before the first trip, though, because she ran out while I was letting her warm up!  After that, she ran great.
Drilled a couple of holes in the boot lid to mount the tag.  Changed the oil and filter, which turned out to be a major project.  The drain plug was in so tight that it took almost 30 minutes to remove it.  Then, it took another 30 minutes to remove the filter.  It, too, had been put on by a gorilla.  Had to remove the grille to get enough leverage on it.  The grille was only mounted with 4 screws and a couple of tie-wraps, so I remounted it with stainless screws all the way around after I finished the oil and filter change.  Removed the anemic factory horn and replaced it with a Freeway Blaster.  That was a chore, too, because the mounting bolts were rusted and covered with several coats of paint.
I can't get an inspection sticker yet, though, because the wipers and speedometer don't work.  I think I'm just going to apply for an Antique/Classic tag so I won't have to get her inspected every year.
I've posted a couple of pics in the media album "Lil Red."  I tried to post a couple more but ran into a problem with them.

Edit: (added pictures for John)



Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: BritBits on March 16, 2019, 09:06:46 PM
Hi John,

Looks good so far.   I was having a bit of a senior moment then I realized I was reading your update on the Mini list, not here.   

Speedometer- I'm guessing it's still cable driven, so... is the cable driving?   One idea is to remove the speedo cable from the back of the speedo and see if the cable spins freely in the housing or seems locked in.   If it spins, it's either broken somewhere along it's length or not connected at the trans end.  For the speedo if you have an extra cable around hook it to the speedo and spin it with a drill to see if the gauge moves.   

For the wipers... round body motor?    Go through the normal troubleshooting for power to the motor, and if it's not working let me know, I suspect that it's basically the same motor that the Spitfires used.. I have a shelf of them if you need bits/pieces/???



Title: Re: Bought another Mini
Post by: John Lieberman on March 23, 2019, 06:53:19 PM
Got the wipers working again.  Turns out it was just a dirty electrical connection.  Now it's on to the speedo.